New Year’s Party at Maison Premiere; The Marrow’s Wine Room
Maison Premiere will offer a four-course prix fixe menu on New Year's Eve, with dishes like tuna tartar, halibut with leeks, and absinthe-spiked panna cotta. Seatings are available at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., with the former costing $90 and the latter, which also includes a glass of Champagne, $125 per person. The regular à la carte menu will also be available. [Grub Street]
L’Apicio will host a New Year's party with an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, a D.J., dancing, and a Champagne Roederer toast. Tickets, which can be purchased online, are $150; doors open at 8 p.m. [Grub Street]
Louro, located in the West Village, is offering a seven-course black-and-white truffle dinner on December 9 at 7 p.m. The menu includes plates of poached egg with shaved white truffles, white-truffle pierogi, and dry-aged beef with fried oysters and black-truffle jus. The dinner is BYO beer and wine; tickets are $150 and the full menu can be found here. [Grub Street]
The Marrow has recently opened its wine room, a cozy space designed for intimate celebrations of up to 30 people. Party time! [Grub Street]
Filed Under: leftovers, l'apicio, louro, maison premiere, new york, the marrow
Ramen Lab Is Headed to Kenmare Street — and Noodle Lovers Should Start Getting Psyched
No safety glasses required.
If all goes as planned, Kenshiro Uki of the L.A.- and New Jersey–based manufacturer Sun Noodle will soon open a version of his wildly successful Ramen Lab with chef Shigetoshi "Shige" Nakamura, at 70 Kenmare Street this February. Plans for the tiny Nolita space include fourteen counter seats and an open kitchen, which means a much shorter commute for the throngs of ramen fiends who wanted in on the perpetually sold-out series, which was held in a nondescript industrial park across the Hudson. "Rather than ask people to come to Teterboro," explains Uki, "we had this opportunity to make it more accessible, and increase the kinds of ways people think about ramen. We see it as an education-driven place." If any of this brings to mind images of wizened old ramen lecturers and treatises on the elasticity of gluten, you should probably read on.
Uki says that if all goes to plan, Ramen Lab will offer the "flight," which consists of five bowls demonstrative of different styles, once a week. The courses progress from a lighter style of broth to more complex version, and each will be paired will craft beer or sake. In an effort to cover the multitude of varieties found in Japan, which are typically pegged to region and climate, Ramen Lab will serve a special flavor or type each month. There may be a Sapporo-leaning miso-style soup for the coldest, windy days of February, for example, and a cool plate of tsukemen served with dashi-inflected sauce in July. And because Sun Noodle is the official supplier of Keizo Shimato's ramen burger "buns," maybe don't discount an appearance of sliders down the road — Shige's been known to dabble. The rest of the time, chef Shigetoshi "Shige" Nakamura will debut new styles he's been working on, and also serve the shoyu soup for which he's known in Japan and L.A. ramen circles.
"People tend to think of very thick, pork-based tonkatsu, but Shige is known for a very classic version of shoyu," says Uki, adding that David Chang, whose Momofuku restaurants do business with Sun Noodle, is an admirer. "He says 'It's like jazz,'" says Uki. "It's not very sexy, but it's very good.'"
Though he may not be as recognized in New York, Nakamura is a bona fide ramen legend in Japan. To get some sense of the scope, consider that, back home, the chef opened his first ramen-ya at the age of 22, which is almost unheard-of. And within three years he was regarded by the country's fussiest experts as the top ramen chef, an actual honor he held for three more years. He's revered by his peer Ivan Orkin, who's now cooking uptown in New York, and also by Ippudo founder Shigemi Kawahara, who once said Nakamura was leading Japan's second generation of great ramen chefs. (This means that Uki and Nakamura are routinely recognized while waiting to get into Ippudo, where they're plucked from the line and given a grand tour — it happened twice.)
"Ramen comes down to five things," says Uki. "Always: stock, tare, noodles, oils, and toppings." Along with that, he says, come countless flavors and texture profiles, particularly with the noodles, which can come in many different shapes, and, thanks to the kansui, the alkaline component, flavors. It all amounts to possibilities. "We want people to ask us questions," Uki says. "Why is this noodle thicker? Why is this one aged for three days? That's what we want to do here. Education-driven, maybe, but fun."
Earlier: New Jersey Noodle Lab Sun Attempts to Corner the New York Ramen Market
Related: Sun Noodle’s New Jersey Ramen Lab Starts Serving ‘Ramen Flights’
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
Filed Under: coming soon, kenshiro uki, ramen lab, shigetoshi nakamura, sun noodle
Don’t Get Too Excited About Eataly in Philly and Miami (Yet)
Where in the world...
Restaurateur and Eataly principal Joe Bastianich told Chicago Reader earlier in the week that Philadelphia was up next to get its very own slow-food mega-store, but Eataly managing partner Alex Saper was quick to downgrade official comment to the less-promising "we're extremely interested in Philadelphia." Meanwhile, as for a separate, practically simultaneous rumor that suggests Eataly is headed next to Miami, a manager is quick to set the record straight: "We haven't signed any contract in Miami and I don't believe we are even remotely close to signing one." And more hints keep dropping: Boston, Washington, Los Angeles, even São Paulo — this game is fun. [Chicago Reader, Philly.com, exMiami, Earlier]
Read more posts by Belle Cushing
Filed Under: rumors, eataly, expansions, joe bastianich, miami, philadelphia
Bees Absolutely Love the World’s Largest Gingerbread House
It's 39,201.8 cubic feet.
The 1,800 pounds of butter, 3,000 pounds of brown sugar, and 22,304 pieces of candy used to construct the Guinness-certified largest gingerbread house in this Texas town have been garnering a lot of buzz. Like actual buzz, from honeybees. "We called in a beekeeper the other night and he said there was a cluster of about 2,000 bees," says the general manager of the Texas A&M Traditions Club, which sponsored the project. If those Red Hook bees that gorged on high-fructose corn syrup and dye No. 40 at the neighborhood maraschino-cherry factory a few years back ended up producing bright-red honey, you can be sure something really weird is about to go down in the apiaries of Bryan, Texas. [Today, Related]
Read more posts by Belle Cushing
Filed Under: holiday buzz, aggies, gingerbread house, texas a&m, traditions club
Entourage Stars’ Saratoga Springs Restaurant Is for Sale
What would Vince do?
Siro's, the famous Saratoga Springs restaurant whose owners include Entourage actors Kevin Connolly and Kevin Dillon, has been put up for sale. Siro's has been operating next to the Saratoga Race Course for 75 years, and even had a short-lived Manhattan spin-off that shuttered unexpectedly in March, perhaps because there are no horse races in Midtown. In any event, all you jockeys and gamblers, the restaurant will remain open for the 2014 season. [AP]
Read more posts by Belle Cushing
Filed Under: changing hands, entourage, for sale, kevin connolly, kevin dillon, saratoga springs, siro's
Restaurant Owner Thwarts Robbery With Sushi Knife
McDonald’s Advised Low-Wage Workers on How to Tip Imaginary Pool Boys, Au Pairs, Masseuses
Say, what's the appropriate amount to tip Jeeves — a week's pay, or a small gift and $50 cash?
The folks at CNBC noticed that McDonald's corporate posted a comprehensive guide to tipping all sorts of service people that pretty much no McDonald's employee can afford to employ — personal trainers, massage therapists, au pairs, landscapers — on its McResources website, the same portal that unhelpfully instructed workers to sing happy songs to get through periods of stress and break food into tiny pieces during times of diminishing grocery budgets. (Fitness trainers should get "the cost of one session" at the holidays, just FYI.)
CNBC notes that the tipping rules advised readers to stick to their budgets first and foremost, while, in an e-mail, McDonald's pointed out the guidelines were penned by "third-party partner" Emily Post, "one of the best-known etiquette gurus." Then they removed the insensitive post from the website. Thousands of minimum-wage-earning workers trying to figure out how much to give the pool boy this Christmas will be forced to search elsewhere.
McFail: McDonald's out-of-touch tipping advice to employees [CNBC]
Earlier: McDonald’s Advises Hungry Employees to ‘Break Food Into Little Pieces’
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
Filed Under: useless nuggets, fast food, mcdonald's, mcresource line, mininum wage, the chain gang, workers rights
Plan for Historic Childs Restaurant in Coney Island Moves Forward
What to Order Off Jeffrey’s Grocery’s Brand-New Menu
Fish 'n' Chips: battered blowfish tails, doughnut holes, maple-malt vinegar, and dill-pickle aioli.
Gabriel Stulman definitely wins the award for most improved restaurateur of 2013: After three years of operating with a small, electric kitchenette, he has revamped Jeffrey's Grocery and installed a full-size gas kitchen — as well as an exhaust system, so you don't leave smelling like your dinner. New gadgets call for new food, of course, so Stulman has hired the restaurant's first-ever pastry chef, who will make all baked goods in-house. Chefs Michael Toscano and James McDuffee have conceived a brand-new menu, with an expanded raw-bar program and comfort foods like roast chicken with pretzel stuffing, fish 'n' chips with doughnut holes, and escargot toast. Take a look at a few of the dishes and the menus, straight ahead.
Black-pepper scones, citrus-olive-oil cake, ham-and-cheese croissants, and more.Photo: Melissa Hom
Zucchini bread.Photo: Melissa Hom
Yogurt with Jeffrey's Grocery granola, quince, and pomegranate seeds.
Photo: Melissa Hom
Vol au Vent soft-scrambled eggs, epoisses fondue, oyster mushrooms, and crispy Brussels sprouts.Photo: Melissa Hom
King-crab vinaigrette with sweet-potato bread and house-made culture butter.Photo: Melissa Hom
Seafood platters include marinated mussels, lobster cocktail, oysters, and more.Photo: Melissa Hom
Yellowfin-tuna carpaccio with pickled celery and green olives.Photo: Melissa Hom
Escargot toast with chicken confit, capers, and crispy chicken skin.
Photo: Melissa Hom
The kitchen rebuild cost $150,000 and took three weeks.Photo: Melissa Hom
Jeffrey's Grocery, 172 Waverly Pl., 646-398-7630
Read more posts by Sierra Tishgart
Filed Under: opening again, gabriel stulman, jeffrey's grocery, new york, renovations, west village
Here’s Where You Can Buy a Bottle of Pappy in New York ... for $1,800
A Winkle in time.
It's complicated, but if you're reeeally determined to have a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle, Schnapps Liquors in Brooklyn has one bottle each of the 23-, 20-, and 15-year, and two bottles each of the 12- and 10-year (Old Rip Van Winkle) cult bourbon whiskey. Here's the thing, though: The most expensive bottle is $1,800, you have to go to Midwood, and you have to get there before sundown — Schnapps closes at 3:45 today.
Schnapps Liquors also closes for Shabbat, but reopens at noon on Sunday, so there's that. Avi Kay, owner of the six-year-old Midwood shop, last night told Grub Street that the shortage has been particularly rough, and that he wishes we could have been there last year, when he was selling bottles for $150 each. Us too.
For pretty much most drinkers, that $1,800 price tag is ridiculous, of course, but perhaps not so much considering the nebulous underworld of Pappy resellers and the fact that similar stock is selling for $2,560 a pop on sites like Liquorlist.com. (For the record, Kay says he thinks there's a "one million percent chance" the theft of 65 cases of Pappy 20-year, which first made headlines in October and has since been unable to retract its newsy fangs, was all a hoax.)
In addition to the Pappy and a broad selection of Kosher wine, Schnapps is stacked to the rafters — literally — with a lot more bourbon, rye, and whiskey, including rare Black Maple Hill, releases from Angel's Envy, and, behind the counter, second shelf up from the bottom, W.L. Weller 7-year, which Julian Van Winkle himself says would be his "first pick" if he couldn't track down any Pappy himself. It goes for around $20 a bottle.
Schnapps Liquors, 404 Ave. M, nr. E. 4th St., Midwood; 718-336-7707
Earlier: Now There Are Pappy Van Winkle Conspiracy Theorists
Earlier: Reward For Missing Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Surges to $10,000
Earlier: Pappy Van Winkle Seekers Waiting Hours for Bourbon
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
Filed Under: pappy for sale, bourbon, bourbon whiskey, midwood, pappy van winkle, schnapps liquors
Get Drunk, Stay Warm: 14 New Hot, Comforting Cocktails
Extra Fancy's punch is definitely good for your health.
When you were a kid, this was the time of year that you came in from the snow and drank as much hot chocolate and warm cider as you could get. But since you're a grown-up, your warming beverages can have the added benefit of containing booze, too. Bars all over town get this, and they are happy to help you out by serving hot cocktails like bourbon-spiked tea, gin-and-honey punch, and malted hot toddies to keep you warm and cozy. We've rounded up fourteen strong ones, straight ahead.
The Drink: Vietnamese Coffee Grown-Up Style
Where to Get It: Whiskey Soda Lounge
To ensure that you don't get tired while waiting for a table at Pok Pok Ny, drink brandy-spiked coffee. The creamy cocktail also includes condensed and evaporated milks and a pinch of salt.
The Drink: Malted Hot Toddy
Where to Get It: The Cannibal at Gotham West Market
After you finish slurping Ivan Orkin's ramen, head over to the Cannibal for a warm drink with malt syrup, barley, and Four Roses bourbon.
The Drink: Scott Toddy
Where to Get It: Bergen Hill
Over in Carroll Gardens, cocktail whiz Ravi DeRossi serves a hot drink with the Famous Grouse whiskey, Zirbenz Stone Pine Liqueur, and bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup.
The Drink: Sister Christian Two
Where to Get It: Alder
Bar director Kevin Denton likes to use exotic ingredients in drinks, and this one's comprised of hot coconut milk, coffee vermouth (infused in-house), and rum.
The Drink: Pop’s Cider
Where to Get It: Distilled
With Brugal 1888 rum, baked pumpkin jus, fall spices, and vanilla-bean whipped cream, this drink's better than most desserts.
The Drink: Lamb’s Wool
Where to Get It: The Dead Rabbit
At this FiDi bar, you'll find a delightful cocktail made with Jameson Irish whiskey, Fuller’s Extra Special Bitter beer, roasted apple puree, brown sugar, nutmeg, and ginger.
The Drink: Teddy Hill
Where to Get It: Minton's
The recently reopened Harlem supper club spikes hot peach tea with Woodford Reserve bourbon, ginger syrup, and a cinnamon stick.
The Drink: Black Forest Fire
Where to Get It: The Marrow
This boozy, spicy hot chocolate includes mezcal, cherry heering (cherry liqueur with a brandy base), and cayenne pepper.
The Drink: Hot Buttery Nipple
Where to Get It: Golden Cadillac
New on the menu at this seventies-themed bar is a drink made with butter-and-cacao-infused Jameson, rich demerara-based syrup, hot water, and whipped cream.
The Drink: The Butternut and Falernum
Where to Get It: The Butterfly
Eben Freeman has two brand-new hot drinks on his menu: one with aged rum, butternut-squash jus, and Falernum syrup; and another called the Crumble, with brown-butter rum, clove syrup, and sparkling pear cider.
The Drink: Bourbon Hot Chocolate
Where to Get It: Blue Ribbon Beer Garden
Traditional hot chocolate tastes even better when mixed with good-quality bourbon. This drink will be served at the beer garden and Blue Ribbon Sushi Izakaya all winter long — and it's offered at lunchtime!
The Drink: Hot & Cozy
Where to Get It: The Meatball Shop - Chelsea
The Meatball Shop's Chelsea location is the only New York outpost to have a full liquor license, and downstairs at "Underballs," you'll find an apple-cider-based cocktail served warm with Applejack brandy.
The Drink: Mint Mocha
Where to Get It: Forgetmenot
At this surf-shack-esque bar on the Lower East Side, bartenders served a sugary cocktail made with Stonewall Kitchen's peppermint-flavored hot chocolate, vodka, whipped cream, and, most important, a candy cane.
The Drink: Meyer Lemon, Tangerine & Rosemary Punch
Where to Get It: Extra Fancy
Head bartender Robert Krueger, an alum of Employees Only, makes this punch by simmering Dorothy Parker gin, orange curaçao liqueur, honey, white wine, rosemary, and the juice of lemons and tangerines on a stove.
Read more posts by Sierra Tishgart
Filed Under: grub guides, alcohol, alder, bars, bergen hill, blue ribbon beer garden, booze, distilled, drinks, extra fancy, forgtmenot, minion’s, new york, the butterfly, the cannibal, the dead rabbit, the marrow, the meatball shop, whiskey soda lounge
Katy Perry and John Mayer Order ABC Kitchen’s Truffle Pizza; Kim and Kanye Go to the Spotted Pig
Thanksgiving has come and gone, but of all people, perhaps Lindsay Lohan should be thankful. After moving on from 19-year-old Liam Dean, Lohan hung out at Finale with her potential new boyfriend, 18-year-old Michael Neeson. Meanwhile, Leonardo DiCaprio spent quality time with his new girlfriend at Artico, while newly single Orlando Bloom dined out with his son. This, and more, straight ahead.
ABC Kitchen: Katy Perry and John Mayer ordered and then neglected a $98 truffle pizza. [Page Six/NYP]
Artico: Leonardo DiCaprio and his latest model-girlfriend, Toni Garrn, hung out in Chelsea. [Page Six, NYP]
Dish: Spike Lee ordered rigatoni in Dumbo. [Page Six/NYP]
Kingside: Mariska Hargitay and her fellow Law & Order: SVU castmates spent time with fans over dinner to support the Joyful Heart Foundation. Stabler did not attend. Presumably, he was punching a wall somewhere. [Page Six/NYP]
Finale: 27-year-old Lindsay Lohan had her eyes on Liam Neeson's son Michael, who is 18. For her sake, let's hope he hasn't seen her latest "film," The Canyons. [Page Six/NYP]
Fred's: Vera Wang lunched at Barneys with her family. [Page Six/NYP]
Lafayette: The Boardwalk Empire cast gathered for Michael Kenneth Williams’s birthday. [Page Six/NYP]
Playwright Celtic Pub: Fruitvale Station tandem Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Coogler spent some time at the bar. [Page Six/NYP]
Rao's: Yankee Mark Teixeira scored a coveted table. [Page Six/NYP]
Sea Fire Grill: Adrian Grenier ate with his entourage. [Page Six/NYP]
Sirio Ristorante: Over breakfast, Orlando Bloom strategized how to entertain his 2-year-old son, Flynn. [Page Six/NYP]
STK Meatpacking: Michael Strahan celebrated his 42nd birthday with a Don Julio 1942. [amNY]
Strip House 12th Street: Keanu Reeves spent his Thanksgiving catching up with an older female friend. [Page Six/NYP]
The Four Seasons Restaurant: Sarah Jessica Parker, Blythe Danner, Henry Kissinger, and other power players all had lunch at the same time — just not together. [Page Six/NYP]
The Spotted Pig: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian shared a meal after his Barclays Center performance. [Page Six/NYP]
Read more posts by Jason Schwartzman
Filed Under: celebrity settings, abc kitchen, artico, candy, dish, finale, fred's, kingside, lafayette, new york, playwright celtic pub, rao's, sea fire grill, sirio, stk, strip house 12th street, the four seasons restaurant, the spotted pig
Jessica Seinfeld Celebrates Two Thanksgivings, Feasts Late at Charlie Bird
Seinfeld, at Buon Italia in Chelsea Market.
"When I met Jerry he’d never really known anyone who’d cooked," says Jessica Seinfeld, whose latest book is the Can't Cook Book. "It’s just something I’m naturally comfortable with. I can zone out and relieve stress." There's another reason the mother of three prefers cooking for her family when it's dinnertime: "We are kind of very sarcastic, and — how do I say this? — we kind of antagonize our kids, and our mealtimes are kind of a battlefield. So it’s not the greatest thing in the world to be out to dinner." But Seinfeld still managed to hit Charlie Bird this week ("I've been there so many times), grab some midday meals, and get not one but two Thanksgiving dinners on the table. Read it all in this week's Grub Street Diet.
Thursday, November 28
Thanksgiving. I wake up early and turn on the oven. Spending time with a raw bird and giblets at 8 a.m. turned me off breakfast, but I made a very large coffee with coconut oil and honey, which I whip up like a cappuccino with an immersion blender. I don't like the texture of milk in my coffee, so a couple of years ago I heard about this coconut situation and I've been doing it ever since.
Back to Thanksgiving: We try not to eat much other than the big meal, because why spoil a meal you've spent hours making? You're already full after five minutes anyway. So Jerry and I treat Thanksgiving as if it's Yom Kippur Lite. This was our first Thanksgiving meal at my parents' new house in Vermont, and my mom made the meal because, like me, she loves to do the whole thing herself. I did make the gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, and I stayed up the night before making our pies: pecan with bourbon, apple, pumpkin, and maple-cream meringue. Maple cream was the clear-cut winner, followed by the apple.
Friday, November 29
Back to New York to have our second Thanksgiving — this time at our house — so I make the meal myself and we invite our dear friends, the Stephanopoulos family. We call this tradition "Thanks, Again" (coined by Jerry, of course). I made the turkey with an apple-cider-jalapeño-sage gravy. It's the second year I made the recipe and it was perfect. No brining. No basting.
At the behest of my children, I once again made mashed sweet potatoes, with allspice, Chinese five-spice, and marshmallows; as well as roasted carrots; mashed potatoes with crème fraîche; broccoli with raisins, garlic, and crushed red pepper; porcini-mushroom stuffing; and cranberry sauce. I also repeated my pie menu for "Thanks, Again." People were extremely happy with the meal, which was nice.
Saturday, November 30
Making coffee is a form of therapy for me so I bought an Elektra coffee machine five years ago that cost more than my first (very) used car, a Volkswagen Jetta I bought with tips from my bussing/waitresssing/hosting jobs when I was a senior in high school. I bought the Elektra under the guise that it was a present for Jerry's and my tenth anniversary, but really it's my most prized possession — nothing comes close. For a long time I wouldn't let anyone touch it, but I let some people in last year. Anyone who spends time at our house usually leaves jittery and way overcaffeinated.
I made coffee, and read the paper, and felt full from the Thanksgiving dinner so I vowed not to eat for two days. That lasted about an hour. My kids woke up and I made lemon-ricotta pancakes with oatmeal with apricots and sliced almonds.
My kids went off to their various play dates and/or sports, and I continued to break my fast by meeting my friends Derek Blasberg and Tony Biancosino at Co. pizza for lunch. We started, because it's the holidays, with seasonal cocktails. We had four pizzas: the Popeye (great!), Brussels sprouts (five stars), cauliflower pie (loved!), and margarita. Brussels sprouts won the day.
For dinner that night I made a dinner of pasta with quick marinara sauce, then we went to the movies with the kids and saw Frozen. We had large popcorns and Junior Mints (yes, Seinfeld fans, a big cliché).
Sunday, December 1
Sundays are the days we completely Jew-out. We do a run to Zabar’s where two of our favorite guys behind the counter for the past fifteen years, Jerry and David, serve up the best Nova lox in NYC, sliced so thin you can read the New York Times through it. The fish section at Zabar’s is where Jerry first told me he loved me way back when, so that area always chokes me up.
Along with lox, we grabbed fresh-squeezed OJ, bagels, veggie and plain cream cheese, and sour pickles, then made a stop at Sugar & Plumm on Amsterdam for the absolute best rugelach on the planet. We ate that smorgasbord at home. Our friends came over, and I made coffee after coffee for all of us.
We skipped lunch and went directly into the next Jewish tradition: Sunday night Chinese food. We like Mee Noodle Shop on Ninth Avenue and 53rd. We usually keep it basic and pretty orthodox — wonton soup, scallion pancake, steamed veggie dumplings, chicken and broccoli, and fried rice. Yes, there is pork involved. You can judge me, it’s cool.
Monday, December 2
I woke up around 6:15, made breakfast for my kids, sent them to school on the NYC bus. I made coffee for myself and Martha, who has worked for us since our kids were born. We talked through the day — what kid is doing what, when, and then we walked our two dachshunds, Jose and Foxy Brown, in Central Park. Then I jumped on the C train to my office downtown to start testing recipes.
I didn’t eat breakfast because I knew I'd be testing recipes, but when I was done I went to Manousheh for some Lebanese fare. It’s a pop-up near the Bowery that closed for much of December but will come back in January, thank god, as I will be waiting. You watch them bake fresh flatbread that they cover with za'atar. I had mine rolled up with tomatoes, mint, olives, and cucumber. The flavors are unreal.
I had a meeting after that, so on my way I stopped at Abraço for a cortado and a slab of olive-oil cake that was sort of mind-blowing.
I made broiled halibut, spinach, steamed broccoli, and, since we are in the midst of Hanukkah, potato latkes with homemade applesauce for everyone for dinner. I cleaned up afterward and there was soon an ice-cream war cry in my house. Jerry is onboard. He also likes overcooked and stale things, so anything day-old and not nailed down is always polished off.
Tuesday, December 3
I didn't really eat early because I knew I had a full day of testing. We were making chicken drumsticks with salt, cumin, cayenne, and both apricot and cherry jam. I had that for lunch.
I went home and pounded out some chicken for chicken Milanese. I had every intention of making chicken Parmesan but it got too late to make the sauce because I had all the interruptions with homework and all that madness. The sauce only takes twenty minutes, but I was too overwhelmed by my son's math homework. This is why you shouldn't have a mother of three do the Grub Street Diet.
Wednesday, December 4
I spent the day testing and shooting the chicken drumsticks. The cherry one tasted like coq au vin — so delicious.
I brought it home for my kids and Jerry to eat for dinner, then I met a friend for a late, luxurious pre-holiday celebration dinner at Charlie Bird, which is the restaurant I am currently most obsessed with. (Jerry opted out after a long day of shooting Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.) They are kind at Charlie Bird, and my friends and I always end up staying way too long. We started with cocktails, then a 2003 Etna Rosso. We ate poached eggs on toast with Parmesan and truffle, very fresh Nantucket Bay scallops, an escarole salad, Brussels sprouts with garlic sauce, and the roast chicken with a crispy-bits salad.
Dessert was chocolate budino with olive-oil gelato and caramelized rice crispies. Then a cheese course appeared, but I am sadly not sophisticated enough to appreciate cheese after dinner. I tried, but could not partake. Then some friends showed up, they ordered grappa, and it was the beginning of the end.
Read more posts by Alan Sytsma
Filed Under: the grub street diet, abraco, charlie bird, co., jessica seinfeld, the new york diet
The Bird Boom: Luxury Roast Chicken Conquers New York
One of the Pennsylvania-bred birds served at Rotisserie Georgette.
Chickens have it rough. Their feet are ridiculous. They have no natural defense against predators. Their clucks sound idiotic. And they are just about the most perfect animal to roast over fire and devour whole. When done right, the combination of crispy, crackly skin and tender meat is a texturally perfect canvas that skilled cooks can flavor any way they like: Add some lemons and herbs; perfume the meat with ginger, garlic, and scallions; give it a dash of smoked paprika; slather it with a sauce of bacon and onions. It all tastes good. And now, the humble chicken has become the new must-have luxury menu item at New York's most vital new restaurants.
It's not like the idea of roast chicken is new. It has been served, no doubt, for as long as there have been restaurants. But for too long, a chicken dish was the blandest option at any given restaurant. Here's where things stood in 1995, when Ruth Reichl reviewed UES bistro L'Absinthe for the Times: "Does the roast chicken need to be quite so forceful a reminder that American chickens don't have much flavor?"
There were poultry pioneers since then, of course, such as Balthazar's poulet for two, arriving at your table with mashed potatoes and some vegetables. And all talk of New York's roast chicken scene must mention the version served at Barbuto, spatchcocked and roasted in the brick oven. A plate comprising half a bird and a spoonful of Italian salsa verde rings in at a mere $19, and many cite this pollo al forno as the best in the entire city.
But the new chickens that have currently taken up permanent residence on New York's menus are different. They're not mere comfort food; they're grand birds competing for prime menu space with steaks and other luxury large-format dishes. And they all share some similar traits: They will be at the very least roasted (and often given extra kitchen love beyond that), generally served for two people, routinely purchased from the ever-popular "Amish and Mennonite farms" of Pennsylvania, and they are more or less guaranteed to taste very, very good. And in many cases, they are quite literally a different breed of bird than what's been served in New York previously.
At Dover — the brand-new restaurant from Brooklyn's Battersby team — the kitchen buys Green Circle chickens, which are a French variety that have been fed scraps from restaurants like Per Se and Gramercy Tavern. The staff then confits the legs in duck fat for three hours, cools them, and dresses them with celery, apples, sherry vinegar, and black truffles. When diners order the chicken, the confit comes out first (served with white mushrooms, celery root, and more sliced truffles). The breasts are roasted on the bone, presented whole at the table, then carved back in the kitchen and plated — served alongside a truffle-and-Comte gratin. This will run you $65.
The $65 price tag is the same for chicken at Kingside, the new midtown spot with a menu from Marc Murphy. Lafayette serves chicken for two fresh from the Rotisol rotisserie that runs $50. Chef Michael Toscano's redo of the Montmartre menu has a "Coq au vin jaune" for two for $58 (it also comes with egg noodles). At Rotisserie Georgette, owner Georgette Farkas and chef David Malbequi serve two poultry options from their own Rotisol: a $24 plate of "roasted organic Zimmerman farm" chicken for one, or the "poule de luxe" for two — a heritage-breed bird from upstate New York that Malbequi serves with mushroom stuffing and slabs of foie gras. It's $74.
Nomad kicked off this whole mania with its own luxe $79 birds, famously stuffed with foie under the skin, presented tableside, whisked back to the kitchen for carving, and then served delicately plated. It's the dish that many people say kicked off New York's most recent chicken craze.
The chicken love is hardly relegated to French-leaning spots, though. Both Pok Pok Ny and Uncle Boons offer Thai-accented versions. Danny Bowien's Mission Cantina serves entire birds, stuffed with chorizo and rice (alongside some seriously excellent tortillas) for a relatively affordable $35 each.
It is not surprising that chefs are fascinated with chickens — and happy to sell them. Among their virtues:
It is endlessly versatile: As evidenced above, there are a zillion ways to make chicken delicious. For chefs, this is very appealing, especially when compared to, say, high-end steak, which has basically one preparation (sear with fire, slice, serve).
The economics of it really work out well for restaurants: Think of how much you pay for a high-quality chicken at a grocery store. It's $15, maybe. Online, a three-pound bird from D'Artagnan (which sells the same Pennsylvania chickens used by restaurants) will cost you about $22. Even New York's Kinderhook Farm, which raises the same kinds of heritage birds used by Rotisserie Georgette, charges $6 per pound at the farm store for their Label Rouge birds. Restaurant owners don't talk about how much they pay for their ingredients, but wholesale prices are inevitably lower, which means the mark-up is enormous when kitchens charge $50, $60, or $70 for those same chickens. But for customers, it works out to about $25 to $35 per person for an entree — a not-unreasonable price to pay in a New York restaurant.
It's truly difficult to tire of roast chicken: Chefs need regulars if they hope to stay in business for more than eighteen months, which means they have to give people something to come back for. An amazing chicken dish is just the thing, since people crave it. Look at San Francisco's Judy Rodgers, who passed away earlier this week and whose legacy will be her roasted chicken with bread salad. It makes sense: Rodgers perfected what just might be the world's most perfect dish. People remember that kind of thing forever.
Related: Taste Test: Eight New Rotisserie Chickens
Read more posts by Alan Sytsma
Filed Under: bird is the word, balthazar, chicken, dover, kingside, lafayette, mission cantina, montmartre, nomad, rotisserie georgette
Uncle Boons Launches Brunch; Queens Kickshaw’s Asian-Jewish Meal
Starting this Saturday, December 7, Uncle Boons will be open for brunch on the weekends. The menu will include offerings like mung-bean pancakes with palm-sugar syrup and Kai Kaeng Kiew Wan — poached eggs in green curry with water spinach, mushroom, and roti. Brunch will be served Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. [Grub Street]
La Maison du Chocolat is hosting its first “Hot Chocolate Night” on December 23. From 8 p.m. to midnight, the Rockefeller Center spot will offer complimentary tastings of hot chocolate and macaroons. [Grub Street]
On December 24, Queens Kickshaw will be serving an Asian-meets-Jewish mash-up brunch from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The à la carte holiday menu will include ramen-noodle kugel, Szechuan egg in a potato latke basket, challah French toast with Chinese five-spice pear compote, and egg-cream bubble tea. Reservations aren't accepted. [Grub Street]
Whiskey & Wine Off 69 is now hosting monthly “Home Mixology Mondays,” complimentary educational tastings led by the city’s top mixologists. The first session, led by Jim Meehan, will focus on holiday punch and take place on December 9 from 7 to 9 p.m. [Grub Street]
Former Anella chefs Chris Abbomondi and Ken Corrow are reuniting to helm the kitchen at Domain NYC in Harlem, where they’ll serve up a refined take on eclectic American comfort food. [Grub Street]
Filed Under: leftovers, anella, domain, la maison du chocolat, new york, queens kickshaw, uncle boons, whiskey & wine off 69
Customer Hospitalized After Eating Wendy’s Burger Topped With Half-Smoked Blunt
Cheerios Super Bowl Ad Will Likely Continue Controversial Story Line
We hope this guy is back.
Cheerios will make a commercial to air during the Super Bowl, and with the same creative team in place, speculation is that it'll keep up the narrative about the interracial family that got some people extremely angry back in May. Cheerios is so far only disclosing that it "will be a beautiful story about a family and their love for each other," which is sort of another way of saying, "Hey, bigots, here's your open invitation to make a big stink about this before the commercial ever airs, which will still work out in our favor." The last one had a huge impact, after all. Even lots of kids thought it was cute. [AdAge, Earlier, Related]
Read more posts by Belle Cushing
Filed Under: b12, advertising, cereal, cheerios, general mills, super bowl
Now There Are Pappy Van Winkle Conspiracy Theorists
"Follow the money," he says.
"Who has profited the most from this? It wasn't somebody stealing 65 cases or two hundred bottles of Pappy Van Winkle. I think the world wide attention that Pappy Van Winkle has gotten has certainly been wonderful to their advertising and marketing departments." — Doug Hubbard, the self-described "old country" lawyer representing a now-cleared school principal who'd been named a person of interest in the bourbon heist, suggests we've all been duped by a heinous publicity stunt. [WBKO, Earlier, Related]
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
Filed Under: quote of the day, bourbon, bourbon bandits, chris pickett, crime, doug hubbard, i remember pappy, pappy van winkle
Ohio Coffee Shop Holds Food Drive to Benefit Tip-Jar Thief
Only in Akron.
A coffee shop in Ohio is choosing to see the very best in the bald guy who waltzed right up to the counter and stole cash from the tip jar by holding a food drive and promising him free coffee for the rest of the year. Management at Akron's Nervous Dog Coffee Bar & Roaster posted security footage of the sticky-fingered patron on their Facebook page as an entreaty to their clientele to help them track the thief down — not to press charges, but because "we figured anyone desperate enough to steal a few bucks from a kid working her way through college, is likely pretty hungry." Or, he may just be a cheapskate.
Watch the footage carefully, and it even looks like the barista puts the man's change into the tip jar, which really adds insult to injury. So far, the good folks at the Nervous Dog Coffee Bar — who either understand the value of free publicity, really get what the holidays are all about, and/or are trying to shame the thief as much as possible — have collected "about three boxes of food." The first donation, you may have guessed, came from the barista who waited on the thief.
Coffee shop holds food drive for man who stole from tip jar [WKYC]
Bald Dude Steals Tips [Nervous Dog Coffee Bar/Facebook]
Read more posts by Belle Cushing
Filed Under: good deeds, akron, crime, holiday spirit, nervous dog coffee, ohio, tips
Watch Gordon Ramsay Face Off Against the Swedish Chef
This star-filled "Muppisode," released today in advance of next's year's Muppets Most Wanted, has Kermit and friends get all GoogaMooga at a food-truck rally, where the Swedish Chef is selling charcuterie at his stand, called Børk Børk Førk. Only problem is that he's in Gordon Ramsay's spot. The celebrity chef has a decent track record with popular talking animals, for what it's worth, but not this time, it seems: A brutal Iron Chef–style face-off ensues. Also, Beaker really is sous-chef material and has some impressive knife skills.
Food Fight - Muppisode [Disney]
Read more posts by Hugh Merwin
Filed Under: video feed, gordon ramsay, muppets, muppets most wanted, swedish chef